“WORLD of Food Beijing was a truly excellent trade show for all three days,” said Igor Popovic from Tetra Pak, North-West Europe.
His compliment was one of many given by exhibitors, visitors and delegates to the show that ran from November 18-20 at the China National Convention Centre in Beijing, China.
As North China’s only international food event, World of Food Beijing — powered by Anuga — affirmed its appeal to both Chinese and foreign companies and businesses, attracting a total of 23,269 trade visitors.
A record number of 607 exhibitors from 34 countries and regions showcased food products, services and new technologies to buyers from the China market. Nearly 45% of the exhibitors came from outside of China.
Like Popovik of Tetra Pak, many who visited or exhibited left with not just praise but also reaped much reward as well — be it in terms of sales concluded, amassing potential sources of new customers or business, or knowledge acquired.
Some companies began making an impact even on the opening day itself. Sing Kee Kaya from Singapore was one of them. CEO Andy Tan inked a deal with the company’s first agents in China and South Korea on that day.
Sing Kee Kaya plans to introduce its coconut jam, known locally as kaya, to the China market, and open a kaya café that will appeal to young consumers there.
This year’s event — the second to be held following World of Food Beijing’s debut last year — saw a comprehensive range of products being exhibited. These included: Fine and imported food; dairy products; baked goods; meat; seafood; frozen food; confectionery and snacks; coffee and tea; olive oil and edible oil; alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages; fruits and vegetables; organic food; and catering services.
In addition, F&B establishments such as Haidilao Hotpot, Edomae Sushi, Cheng Fu Yan, Blue Frog and New World Hotel provided exhibitors with a supplier ecosystem, integrating chefs, industry professionals, food culture and the market, and serving high-quality ingredients directly to end-consumers.
International trade bodies and leading exhibitor groups from their respective countries also showed up in bigger numbers this year. There was a 34% jump in exhibiting space taken up by them.
Among them were the trade pavilions of the: Argentine Beef Promotion Institute (IPCVA); French Chamber of Commerce; EUSME Centre; Benelux Chamber of Commerce; US Dairy Export Council; US Meat Export Federation; Flanders’ Agricultural Marketing Board (VLAM); Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX); Foreign Trade Institute of Castilla-La Mancha (IPEX); Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation (AT Centre); and the Singapore Manufacturing Federation.
Said Frederik Vandermersch, product manager, Dairy, at Flanders’ Agricultural Marketing Board, Belgium: “World of Food Beijing has really been a great experience for the Belgian dairy sector. The fair was organised in a very professional way and offered a broad programme of extra activities. We chose this fair to introduce our new campaign, ‘White Gold’, to the Asian market, to focus on the high-quality Belgian dairy products which Chinese attendees really expect.
“We received helpful support from the organisers by setting up a press meeting at our booth. All the efforts were successful. Our suppliers were very busy dealing with potential buyers. The contacts were of high value and we will certainly continue with our activities in China.”
Business matching sessions were also conducted during the event, bringing together overseas food manufacturers with sourcing teams from e-commerce platforms such as YHD, benlai.com and COFCO womai.com, and buyers from local retailers, supermarkets and the hospitality industry, including BHG, Ito Yokado, Wu Mart and CSF Market.
The organisers — Koelnmesse and the Chinese Chamber of Foodstuffs and Native Produce (CFNA) — reported that more than 120 buyer representatives met with over 200 international exhibitors for active negotiations over two days.
Three other related events were held concurrently with World of Food Beijing, all of them also achieving much success. They were: China International Dairy Expo 2015 by the CFNA, the 12th Sweets & Snacks China show by Koelnmesse, and, the China International Catering & Food Expo 2015 (Autumn Edition) by the China Cuisine Association (CCA).
Also running alongside the show was a series of conferences, including the China International Dairy Conference, and the China International Meat Conference hosted by CFNA.
Another important highlight was the inaugural Chinese Cuisine World Championship 2015, held as one of the biggest side programmes of this year’s World of Food Beijing.
Organised by CCA and managed by Koelnmesse, the competition is endorsed by the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS).
Sixteen teams, with a total of nearly 100 contestants, from 11 countries competed. The countries represented included Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Italy, the US, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Nepal and South Korea.
Representing mainland China were the China National Culinary Team, the China Olympic Culinary Team and three teams from the provinces of Shanxi, Yunnan and Zhejiang.
Apart from being a culinary challenge, the event was also aimed at promoting Chinese food culture internationally, hence the host of supporting activities held concurrently, including forums and activities showcasing traditional Chinese cuisine and food tasting.
Teams at the competition were required to prepare six items, including appetiser, soup, seafood dish, meat dish, main course, and a pastry dish or dessert, and to produce 37 portions per course within five hours.
They were then judged by a 20-member panel on five key areas, including professional food preparation and presentation and service.
After two gruelling days, the team from Hong Kong won first position, followed by the teams from Yunnan province and Taiwan. Two contestants — Hong Kong chef Tse Nam Yung and Yunnan chef He Yunzhong — were presented with the best performance awards.
The second edition of the Chinese Cuisine World Championship will be held from November 16-18, at the World of Food Beijing 2016.